Premiering during FORMAT17, artists Daniel Regan & Antonia Attwood explore the soothing qualities of natural spaces in this immersive exhibition combining virtual reality, video, photography and sound through a series of installations. The artists — both working in the field of mental health and well-being — have responded to the theme of HABITAT by examining how various landscapes can be used to create calm spaces, offer safety and provide respite in today’s fast moving world.
From the late summer both artists were in residence at QUAD and began with a research period into what constitutes a safe space by asking strangers to anonymously contribute their own thoughts. Overwhelmingly the greatest amount of responses involved being amongst nature: the sounds of the sea and water; being amongst forests and in open fields; the therapeutic act of walking or simply curling up by the warmth of a fire.
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs ‘security’ is cited as one of the fundamental human needs, required before humans can move on to secondary or higher level needs. The artists’ intrigue into how we feel safe or soothed took them on various journeys into the landscape recording the sights, sounds and light across England. The resulting exhibition is the culmination of these journeys, physically constructed into individual thematic rooms designed for positive well-being. Viewers are invited to immerse themselves into the senses of the land and switch off from the frenetic pace of modern life.
Regan & Attwood were selected as result of an open call to create new works for QUAD and D-Lab in partnership with LEVEL and Junction Arts, funded by INSIDE – a Disability Arts commissioning programme led by DASH with funding from Arts Council England. New Virtual Reality works have been realised due to generous funding from Art Council England Grants for the Arts.
DASH is one of the leading disability visual arts organisations in the UK. DASH’s com-missioning programmes started in 2008, to date they have commissioned twelve Disabled visual artists in partnership with galleries and cultural organisations in the UK www.dasharts.org
D-Lab, supported by Arts Council England through the National Lottery, Derbyshire County Council and Arts Derbyshire, aims to bring the best and most exciting new media artists and artworks to an online audience, focussing especially on artists and organisations in Derbyshire and the East Midlands. D-Lab wants artists to take risks and experiment with digital media, and to showcase their work to an online audience. www.d-lab.org.uk
Artist Filmmaker Antonia Attwood graduated in 2014. Her practice in still and moving image explores the phenomenology of mental health, translating verbal descriptions and stories from people who have lived experience of mental illness. Antonia’s work aims to illustrate and visually interpret how mental illness ‘feels’.
A major piece of her acclaimed work is My Mother Tongue produced with her mother who has bipolar disorder. The premise and motivation, wanting to further understand the condition and her mother’s experiences. Antonia has shown her work at Photofusion, The Institute of Psychiatry, Hotel Elephant, Free Space Gallery, The Dragon Cafe, Broadway Cinema Nottingham and London College of Communication. She also recently exhibited at The Depot Clapton, for Photomonth 2015 and Brighton Photo Fringe. Antonia has had commissions from the Institute of Inner Vision to create short films that explore the theme of mental health.
Daniel Regan is an artist captivated by the human condition. His practice focuses on themes of emotions, well-being and the processing of life’s experiences. The thread of intimacy and the desire to connect with others and his own internal experiences weaves its way throughout his practice.
Daniel studied photography at both BA and MA level at Brighton University and the London College of Communication, respectively. During these periods Regan examined both his own role as a mental health service user as well as the benefits of the arts for those affected by emotional difficulties. Daniel often works with charities to create powerful imagery that represents their beneficiaries, working closely with those affected by alopecia and burns survivors. Daniel regularly exhibits work in fine art and clinical settings, both nationally and internationally, alongside devising and running community arts projects focusing on using photography as a tool for emotional expression.